So there she was. It was really her standing in front of me in the breakfast buffet line at the Algonquin Hotel, patiently waiting, getting ready to scoop some food on her empty plate. Maya Angelou looked taller in person that she did on TV. I had watched her on the tube as she read a poem at the Clinton Inauguration just a month earlier.
In line, at nine in the morning, she somehow managed to look elegant and stylish. Yet the deep wrinkles chiseled on her face indicated that hers was a life where she had seen it all; the good and the bad; the pain and laughter. Her face read like one of her poems.
Who was that short, wiry tan-skinned man accompanying her? A lover perhaps? I didn’t think so. Maybe a security guy? Probably not, too small for that kind of job. An agent, an editor? Who cares anyway?
What foods would Ms. Angelou select from the buffet? I couldn’t see her filling her plate with bacon, sausages and hash browns. Surely a grande dame like her would be a sensible eater. Certainly partaking of the fresh fruit, with maybe some whole wheat toast on the side.
Should I say something to her? Like maybe, “Ms. Angelou I love your books” or “Ms. Angelou your poem at the Inaugural was stirring.” Too trite to say I concluded. Soon she turned around in my direction, and smiled at me, and I smiled back. That was all that I needed to make my day.